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Greg Inglis.

Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters is confident the Maroons will find a new captain and have enough depth in the outside backs to accommodate the loss of Greg Inglis after the veteran centre announced his immediate retirement on Monday.

The loss of Inglis for the 2019 series, along with the departure of Valentine Holmes to the NFL, has left a gaping hole in the Maroons' backline as they look to regain the Origin trophy that went south of the border last season.

It is the second occasion a player from the dominant Maroons era has retired from representative football just weeks leading out from the series opener on June 5 after Cameron Smith's retirement in 2018.

"It is [a loss], certainly Greg over the last 10 years at Origin level has been a dominant figure," Walters said of Inglis' retirement from the game.

"But I'm really happy that Greg has found a bit of peace for himself. Retiring is a big thing and a big decision he had to make. I guess he feels now a lot of pressure lifted with that decision.

"We won't try and replace Greg Inglis because that would be silly of us. He's a once in a generation player.

"We've got to find someone to fill that jersey."

GI calls time on career

Walters indicated the Maroons had enough versatility from the likes of Cameron Munster and Michael Morgan to help out if required.

Morgan played at left centre in Inglis's absence for game three last year and put in a strong performance.

The Maroons coach said Dane Gagai was another option for the position with Will Chambers likely to retain his spot on the right edge.

"There are some positions up for grabs certainly, particularly in the outside backs," Walters said.

Walters: Inglis is a once in a generation player

"We know who they are and they know who they are to get their game right."

Walters was also pleased to read Daly Cherry-Evans was open to the thought of captaining Queensland.

"These are the sort of things I like to be reading and be seeing, it's a great positive mindset from DCE," Walters said.

"There's so many ways you can captain a side. We've seen Wally Lewis, Allan Langer … different methods to Darren Lockyer and Cameron Smith.

"Then Greg had his own way of being pure inspirational. We'll sit down as a board and selector panel and pick the best person."

He was not concerned with the current positions of Queensland clubs on the ladder.

The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans have recorded just one victory each to start the season.

Daly Cherry-Evans is in line for the Maroons' captaincy.
Daly Cherry-Evans is in line for the Maroons' captaincy. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"A lot of our key players now are in southern based clubs and the Melbourne Storm have always been a good provider for State of Origin level," Walters said.

"I knew when I got the job here all the [legendary] players would be gone. From that great era of Queensland rugby league, this is a new era now of the younger generation.

"We're looking for men to stand up and be counted in the Maroons jersey."

Melbourne centre Will Chambers was proud to to play alongside Inglis at the Storm and in many Origin battles and the pair remain great mates.

Inglis was already a superstar when Chambers arrived in Melbourne in 2007 and they immediately hit it off.

Chambers said Inglis went out of his way to make the rookie feel welcome at the Storm.

"He was like a role model when I came down here," Chambers said.

"I came down as a 17-year-old and he looked after me and made my transition from Brisbane to Melbourne quite easy.

Greg Inglis career highlights

"He checked up on me every day, asked how I was going, took me for a feed and just did the simple things like a big brother sort of thing.

"He was a guy that always looked after me and I looked up to him. Even when I went into representative teams for Queensland, he was the first person to make me feel welcome.

"It is something I will always remember, and treasure that I got to play with Greg Inglis."

Chambers praised the work Inglis did for the Indigenous community throughout his career and believes his legacy will live on.

"He made our culture and our people proud," Chambers said.

"If you have a leader like that, it makes other Indigenous boys proud and happy to show that they are Indigenous and not be shy or be nervous.

"He is a leader within the indigenous community, a great athlete and its sad to see him walk away."

Meanwhile, Chambers and the Storm have Friday night's huge game against the Roosters to focus on.

The Roosters embarrassed the Storm when they eased to a 21-6 victory in last year's grand final, but Chambers said that result was not at the forefront of his mind.

"They have got a new group and we have got a new group, so you can't be too worried about that," he said.

"Their forwards are powering up the field and their outside backs can score points from anywhere.

Storm centre Will Chambers.
Storm centre Will Chambers. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"They are playing some really good footy and we have to be up for it."

The match also marks the first time Roosters playmaker Cooper Cronk will return to Melbourne to face his former side at AAMI Park, following his much-publicised departure at the end of the 2017 season.

Chambers expects Cronk will be well received by Storm fans.

"Cooper was a golden child here and did a lot of great things for the organisation," he said.

"He hasn't left a sour taste in anyone’s mouth and I couldn't see why they (the Storm crowd) would be rude towards him as he doesn't deserve that."


Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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